McCombs Denies Sale Imminent

Last weekend, VU got word that Red McCombs was looking to sell the Vikings. Since then, the Twin Cities media have jumped on the story. Thursday, Red issued a denial statement...for what that's worth.

Last Saturday, VU was told that Red McCombs, fed up with what he perceives as little to no chance of the State Legislature giving him public money for a new stadium, had again opened talks to sell the team.

Since then, both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press have run stories confirming McCombs' interest in talking to potential local buyers. Thursday, McCombs issued a statement denying that he is looking to sell the Vikings.

As with the subsequent stories that have run this week, VU stands behind its information. Whether McCombs is simply sending out feelers or is serious about selling off the Vikings, it is clear that some discussions -- whether through McCombs himself or through intermediaries -- has taken place.

The last time sale talks were at a serious level, the biggest issue was millions in outstanding signing bonus money due Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper and Bryant McKinnie. With most or all of that money already paid out, the Vikings' balance sheet for salaries is back in line with what would be more attractive to a buyer.

The bigger issue is the actual value of the team. With most estimates having the Vikings worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 million -- almost double the price McCombs spent ($240 million) when he bought the team in 1998 -- it seems Red has been unwilling to budge off his asking price of $600 million.

Any sale of the Vikings will be a long process, since the names that keep popping up as buyers -- primarily Minnesota billionaire and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor -- would likely have to form a consortium of minority-share owners along with one primary owner. If you're expecting to see an announcement in the next week or two proclaiming a sale, you'll be out of luck. It won't happen that fast. But, as others are confirming from what VU was told last week, the initial groundwork is underway. Whether the sale comes off is another story, but the planning stages are already being undertaken.

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